Folks, the Herd is made for these types of games! In the last ten years we have only lost one big game, the semis to JMU. Now we get to face the only team to have beaten us twice in the last decade, the Jacks of SDSU.
This is a season where you throw out the normal, because it has been anything but normal. I think the Herd was hitting stride and in a great match up with USD to get a developmental game in mid-season. CANCELLED! Onto SDSU, CANCELLED! Then we get to go on the road to face a tough UNI defense. We shook off the rust and got a good lead at 23-12 only to let the Panther’s score late.
The Blue Bunnies haven’t played since March 20th, when they dismantled SIU. The same weekend we punctured UND’s bubble. Like last week I am going to keep my prognosis simple. I like our trench people better than theirs.
The Jack’s beat us during the season in 2016 in a close 19-17 loss with ONE second left. Revenge came in the playoffs with 38-10 win. We lost again in 2017 (5 TO’s will do that, Stick’s worst career game). We got the Dakota Marker back in 2018 in a hard fought 21-17 win. The FCS powers to be scheduled the Jack’s in the same bracket and we creamed them in the semi’s 44-21 (Rams cleared the running lanes to the tune of 439 yards rushing). Last year’s game was epic with Cofield scampering on a 4th and 1 for a 71 yard TD. By the way we out rushed the Jacks 332 to 220.
Even though the Jacks have improved on defense, I don’t think their DL isn’t at the same level of either UNI or Illinois States. I think with Luepke in our backfield, he is going to be a problem for the Jacks. This added ability to run the ball has opened up the play action pass game. We have three NFL talents to throw to in Watson (my most improved player this spring), Gindorff and Babicz. I think the Rams win in the trenches.
The Blue Bunnies had trouble moving the ball on the ground against the top two defenses they have played this year (UNI & YSU). They got 116 yards versus UNI and 142 versus YSU (total offensive yards of 310 vs UNI and 300 vs YSU). I think our DL is every bit as good as UNI’s and better than YSU’s.
Another metric of importance is we have generated 17 sacks (2.4/game) to the Jacks 6 (1.2/game). Pressure can mean TO’s. Gronowski is mobile in the pocket, but not quick twitch. If we can contain Pierre Strong like we did to James Robinson or Zack Zenner, it could be a long day for the Bunnies.
Vegas and other betting venues favor the Herd by 3-6 points. If they play clean, it should be another hard fought close game. We also have field position strength in Wegner over their punter. If SDSU shows rust, I go with the Herd by double digits.
Go Bison. Keep the Marker!